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Tempe creates new award to honor fire captain killed in 2018

Kyle Brayer (City of Tempe Photo)

PHOENIX — The city of Tempe has created a new award to honor a fire captain who was killed off-duty in 2018.

The Kyle Brayer Veteran in Public Safety Award will go to an individual who encompasses the values of Brayer, the 34-year-old fire captain and former Marine.

Brayer was shot and killed in February 2018 after an early morning confrontation in Old Town Scottsdale with 22-year-old Hezron Parks.

Parks was sentenced to 20-plus years in prison in September.

“This award is a great way to honor his service and the service of others,” Jeremy Farr, chairman of the city’s Veterans Commission, said in a press release. “Most military members enter into the service with the thought of doing something great, doing something to serve their country.

“Once they move on from that service, a lot of them continue to want to serve their communities.”

The city has already announced the first recipient of the award: Tempe Fire Capt. Joe Escontrias

Escontrias is also a Marine Corps veteran and has been with the city’s fire department for the past 14 years.

He was honored Wednesday at the Tempe Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee’s Red, White & Blue Awards.

“The criteria for this award are based on the values, characteristics and dedication that made Capt. Brayer special,” Tempe Fire Chief Greg Ruiz said in the release. “Tempe Fire Medical Rescue couldn’t be more proud than to honor Capt. Escontrias as the first recipient, as he has demonstrated the spirit of the award in all his contributions to the department, city and community.”

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